THE OSCAR JINX STALKS HOLLYWOOD

1991 — Jack Palance. Thirty-eight years passed from Palance’s Oscar nomination in “Shane” to his Oscar win as Best Supporting Actor in “City Slickers.” Palance then high-tailed it into the lame comedies “Cops and Robbersons” (1994) and “City Slickers II” (1994) before virtually disappearing from sight. Blame it on the Oscar Jinx? As Palance used to exclaim on TV: believe it or not!
1991 — Mercedes Ruehl. Coming from the stage, Ruehl enjoyed steady work in barely-acknowledged small film roles before hitting the proverbial jackpot with “The Fisher King.” A Best Supporting Actress Oscar brought her the chance to star in a film: the 1993 adaptation of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” which she played on Broadway. Since then, Ruehl, seems to have retreated back into the world of barely-acknowledged small film roles.
1992 — Marisa Tomei. Tomei’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny” was such a surprise that some cynics assumed that award presenter Jack Palance read the wrong name. Tomei took her new Oscar-winning status into a series of awful films, ranging from egregious romantic muck like “Untamed Heart” (1993) and “Unhook the Stars” (1996) to pretentious melodramas like Welcome to Sarajevo (1997). Her dramatic turn as the older lover of a murdered young man in the 2000 release “In the Bedroom” seemed to lay out hope for a career turnaround, but her romping in the recent comedy The Guru suggests the Oscar Jinx has not let go of Tomei yet.
1995 — Mira Sorvino. As the helium-voiced hooker in “Mighty Aphrodite,” Sorvino’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar was well-deserved. Less deserving, however, were her later films: bad Hollywood flops like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) and “Mimic” 1997) and bad indies like Too Tired to Die (2001) and Lisa Picard is Famous (2002). Her tragically miscast attempt to play Daisy in the 2002 TV adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” was perhaps the worst post-Oscar performance ever captured on film.
1996 — Cuba Gooding Jr.. The ebullient actor’s “Show Me the Money” chant in “Jerry Maguire” brought him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but what happened after? Inconsequential dramas like “Instinct” (1997) and “Chill Factor” (1993) and anvil comedies like Rat Race (2001) and Snow Dogs (2002) have pushed Gooding down the scale…to the point that the producers of Daredevil reportedly rebuffed his attempts to land a part in that hit film.
1997 — Kim Basinger. Beauty and talent merged in Basinger’s Best Supporting Actress work for “L.A. Confidential.” After that, however, Basinger tanked with her safari flick I Dreamed of Africa (2000) and was barely recognizable as Eminem’s mother in 8 Mile (2002). We will patiently wait for her much-needed comeback.
1998 — Roberto Benigni. The gregarious actor/director took the Best Actor Oscar home to Italy with Life is Beautiful and returned to America last December with “Pinocchio,” a film that was so horrible that even the marketing wizards of Miramax couldn’t spin it into a hit.
1998 — James Coburn. The long-time action star brought his often-overlooked dramatic skills out in full force as the malevolent father in “Affliction.” Coburn capped his long career with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but afterwards he found himself in silliness such as Payback (1998) and Snow Dogs (2002 — as Cuba Gooding Jr.’s long-lost father!). Coburn passed away last year.




Posted on March 20, 2003 in Features by
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